Bruins vs Canadiens. Canadiens vs Bruins. Whichever way you say it, you won't find a more classic NHL playoff matchup. The Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins - both Original 6 teams - have tangled 33 times in the Stanley Cup playoffs. When the puck drops tonight, it will start the 34th Canadiens vs Bruins playoff series.
An ESPN report quotes Boston coach Claude Julien - who previously coached in Montreal for three seasons - on the rivalry between the two Original 6 teams:
"I hated Boston when I was in Montreal and now I hate Montreal because I'm in Boston. It's a lot of fun... It's more about controlled emotions. It's making sure that the rivalry is what it is, but that your game remains under control."
The players understand how much this rivalry means to the organizations and fans, too. Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges had this to say about the relationship between the two Original 6 teams:
"There's been a rivalry between these two teams way before I was ever here and before I ever even knew about hockey. These are two great organizations that have a lot of pride."
The Habs have won 24 of those Bruins vs Canadiens series. The Bruins have won nine. However, recent history favors the Bruins, who have skated away victors in the last two playoff meetings between the Original 6 contenders. Most recently, the Bruins beat the Canadiens in seven in 2010-2011.
This series should present a challenge for both teams, neither of which saw much opposition in the first round. The Canadiens steamrolled the Tampa Bay Lightning in four games. The Boston Bruins didn't see much more resistance from the battered Red Wings, who made a valiant charge late in the season to advance to their 23rd straight NHL playoff but could do little beyond. The best part of the series was Zdeno Chara's charitable non-thrashing of Detroit's Brendan Smith.
Look for the Canadiens vs Bruins series to be filled with low scoring, hard-fought grind-it-out hockey. Both teams are excellent on defense. Both teams have spectacular goalies. If Montreal can stay out of the penalty box, this Bruins vs Canadiens series could be interesting. If special teams play a significant factor, look for the Bruins to run away with this series.
Whether you're pulling for Boston or Montreal, you won't want to miss any of the action in the Canadiens vs Bruins series. You can watch Bruins vs Canadiens game one streaming online live here.
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